Author: Mick Cope
Publisher: Pearson Prentice Hall
Mick Cope wrote this book to offer “a generic set of fundamental principles that will help people to help other help themselves”, in theory a great reason to write a book.
Cope, a consultant in the field of business transformation wrote his 7C’s book around the consulting lifecycle based on what work he was doing, incorporating the practical with academic research so that everyone was able to understand the framework that I was working to during the consulting process and also to provide a framework for others to use.
It is Cope’s belief that all engagements, including consulting and coaching go through the seven stages, even if called something else, and what the book aims to do it to provide both academic research and a framework for people to use for coaching.
I believe that the book is a great help as part of a research based study as there are some great concepts, and ‘labels’ to explain things, there are many excerpts from other people’s work that cleverly pulls the info into one book.
The Seven Cs of Coaching does have some useful coaching questions littered throughout that do provide some good practical guidance, I was just overwhelmed with the amount of labels and re-labelling of stuff that in some cases simply don’t need to be there.
Throughout the book Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) language is used so if you are already a NLP practitioner you may find the book a little bit of a revision practise.
On the whole, the book is set out in a very logical sequence, albeit in some places a bit too drawn out.
If you bought the book, then I would suggest starting from Chapter 7, as this is where the coaching element really starts in terms of clarifying with the client.
In summary, worth the investment – probably.
The book explains the following framework:
- Client – Understand the person and problem
- Clarity – Understand the symptoms and roots of the issue
- Create – Generate a solution
- Change – Deliver the solution
- Confirm – Make sure it works
- Continue – Ensure it will be sustainable
- Close – Celebrate and say goodbye
However, the detail of this framework doesn’t start until Chapter 5, which resulted in the first few chapters providing a detailed introduction which whilst interesting was a bit of a struggle to read in places.
There were a couple of good points in the introduction that are worth pausing on:
- the ‘Coaching Continuum (fig 1.1 on page 2) – it explains where Collaborative Coaching fits in to the continuum and how he sees it working – “helping them to help themselves.” This is explored in detail in the book, possibly too much detail.
There were a few concepts that I personally could find useful e.g. how to check whether the client really is there to help themselves, and if not, do they really want coaching – a useful tip, but it is also common sense.
Once you get to Chapter 5, the author then breaks down the 7C’s into 7 detailed chapters.
There are nuggets of useful information throughout each chapter, and some good practical tips for things to try against each ‘C’ too.
The subsequent chapters have useful tips, but possibly a skim read for most people.
I personally wanted to ‘flick’ through and see what jumped out at me, as to read the book word for word and digest all of the information was just too much.
However, the book does provide the ‘tools’ in both words and pictures, which can assist a wider audience to be able to use and understand the theory that Cope seeks to explain, and that is an aide when you don’t want to read the whole book, but just want to pick out concepts / ideas, that you could put into practice.
There is a useful tool in Chapter 8 (the Create section), where Cope provides a CHOICE model, which allows both the coach and the client a tool to assess the client’s commitment to achieving the goal(s) that have been agreed.
Chapter 12 has some good tips about closing out the client relationship. If you find that aspect difficult, or are not sure how to do it, then you could dip into the book at this specific chapter.
The final chapter, Chapter 13, is also really useful as it summarises how to put the learning into action, so if you are short of time, skip to Chapter 13, and just complete the revision guide.
The over-riding issue for me was the amount of labelling that was used, as it seemed that names / systems had been created to allow something to be put in a box and explained, which I found increasingly frustrating as I went through the book.
In order to look at the book with clear sight, I sought to take a more objective view and look at it from a couple of angles:
- Someone researching for a thesis – if you use this as a basis to evaluate the book, then I think it does a great job of providing the reader with information.
- Someone new to coaching – some great insights, techniques and tips, also broaden your knowledge and read ‘Coaching for Performance’ as this can give some great practical tips which are written in a more simplistic way.
- Someone who hasn’t coached for a while – dip in and out of the book as there are some useful hints and tips.
- A working coach – useful tips in here if you are ‘stuck’ with a client, and are looking for inspiration to move them forward in a particular aspect.
Reviewed by Sharon Hartley